The sunshine disappears very early, and most holiday festivities have ended, which can only mean that winter is definitely closing in. Instead of just hiding out under the covers and waiting for the beach weather to return, try taking advantage of the nicer days and breaks in the weather to get outside this winter season to do the shore. There are continually great offerings in the area throughout all seasons. Some days, you may want to bundle up and get outside in the fresh, winter air. Or maybe, you want to stay close to home with family or friends. Either way-your activities to do the shore are covered here. Keep reading for a fun filled list of things to enjoy this winter and creative insider tips from locals on their favorite activities!
“The Cape May County Zoo is an endless source of fun for our family. The kids love visiting their favorite animals year round and the friendly staff & zookeepers make my kids feel special every visit” says local father Chris Hunt. A popular opinion among many, the Zoo is a perfect spot for fresh air and continually offering a safe space to socially distance this season. The Zoo is open daily all winter long from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Visit in person, take part in their virtual outreach offerings, adopt an animal or even inquire about a private guided tour! Take part in the Zoo’s additional attractions: playgrounds, penny machines, aerial obstacle adventure park, picnic pavilions, fishing pond or the gazebo. Don’t miss the chance to support the zoo this winter when you Do the Shore! For more information on operating and visiting hours head to capemaycountynj.gov/1008/Park-Zoo.
The experience of bike paths gives many in the community a place to conduct traditional exercise in a setting protected from the road and surrounded by nature. The county’s Bike Paths are a great way to stretch your legs, teach children how to bike or even tap into your inner child and break out those roller blades. Secluded from the road, the bike paths offer various safe routes to get from one point in the county to another without a vehicle! The option to walk along any of the bike paths gives community members an extra incentive to get out in nature and explore the area by foot or bike! No matter your exercise of choice the bike paths are the perfect spot to indulge. Visit https://bit.ly/3bjP2Sf for more information.
When I was a child, a trip to the library was my favorite activity. Climbing up a steep set of stairs, I felt like I was making my way to the gates of a castle filled with treasures. A visit to a library is a multisensory experience that engages all the best ways we learn throughout life stages. So, break out your library card and make an appointment for curbside pickup at your local library because the entire world is right there on their shelves, waiting to be discovered. For more information on current COVID library protocols and hours by location visit cmclibrary.org, avalonfreelibrary.org or oceancitylibrary.org.
Fishing is a great outdoor hobby to pick up. With some research, basic gear, and casting line you can be well on your way to catching your first fish. Local resident Laura Miller chimes in: “Fishing is such a fun activity any time of the year. I especially love bundling up on a wintery morning, grabbing some coffee, and fishing from the Avalon Fishing Pier while catching the sunrise. Fish are always a bonus, but the fresh air, views, and good company are a guarantee that makes me so thankful for the beautiful place we live!” Take a page from Miller’s book and get outside for the thrill of the catch as well as an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful shore. Check out The Cape May County Herald Fishing Line feature in the weekly paper or online at capemaycountyherald.com for more tips and information.
Whether choosing to order take out or enjoy dining in there are plenty of culinary options at the shore. Local restaurant owner, Bill Haines, of Two Black Dogs Café and Take Out gives some insight on what business means to a restaurant right now. Haines states: “My wife and I go out every Tuesday night to different local restaurants for date night. As a business owner myself, I know what the overhead is, and businesses are definitely suffering. I recommend customers go out and support restaurants if they are comfortable. Whether dining in or ordering takeout, restaurants need the support of the community.” Browse the Cape May County Herald’s Do The Shore weekly section to explore the many dining options. For more information on local restaurants also visit dotheshore.com and for takeout options search “tasty takeout”.
A wonderful bonus to living at the shore is the bountiful natural trails that surround the area. Bundle up, grab those binoculars for bird watching or a camera to capture moments, or perhaps simply unplug in nature. Explore local nature centers for educational resources in the surrounding environments. Local resident Hannah Catanoso shares enthusiasm for nature trails in the winter. She states: “The winter is my favorite time to explore the county. I especially love grabbing my camera and going for a walk on the Cape May nature trails near the lighthouse. It feels like a little escape from the busy world and I can capture the county’s nature at every turn.” For more information visit capemaycountynj.gov/956/Nature.
Volunteer at Animal Shelters
If you have a passion for animals and have extra love to give this activity may be perfect for you! There are several shelters within the county that rely on volunteers to help keep the day-to-day operations running smoothly. From playing with kittens, to walking dogs or cleaning cages there are endless ways to serve the four-legged friends of the community. Local Alison R. shares her experience: “While volunteering at a local shelter I fell in love with and adopted a cat. Not only was I able to give back and share some love with all the animals I also got a best friend out of it! I highly suggest volunteering as it will give you a purpose and bring so much joy to the animals.”
Another Friday night where you’re not sure what to do? Not anymore. Grab your loved ones and a few cozy blankets for a winter bonfire from the comfort of your home. Turn the bonfires you used to love as a kid into a grown-up’s dream with “gourmet s’mores,” AKA pairings like strawberries with white chocolate, or your favorite candy bar topped with a cookie to hold it all together. Tap into your creativity here and see who in the group can come up with the most delicious or original s’more pairing. The warmth and glow of the fire paired with the laughter and memories made with those surrounding you will be enough motivation to host campfires all winter long!
There is no shortage of options when it comes to taking a walk on the beach! Whether selecting the bay or ocean side, the winter provides a different viewpoint to appreciate the beauty the beach has to offer. Be mindful of the tidal patterns in regard to taking a walk on the beach to be prepared for incoming and outgoing tides. Take along your furry friend for some exercise as well. Beaches allow well behaved and leashed dogs to accompany their owners on winter walks. Perhaps even check out North Wildwood Seawall for a different perspective and a stroll above the waves. The shore is the perfect place to take advantage of beach walks all year around. Head to capemaycountynj.gov/943/Beaches for more information.
A large facet of Doing the Shore is enjoying the local business offerings. From getting a haircut to jewelry shopping consider local. Leah Kelleher, owner of local boutique Thread and Root explains how the community needs to stick together throughout all seasons. Kelleher states, “With the nature of our small business communities we rely on each other and our customers to get through the winter season. It’s all about building one another up and keeping our business community strong.” Check out the many Cape May County Herald advertisers and together let’s support local businesses.